Michael Jackson CDs Fly Off Store Shelves
In the "J" section of the music department at the Aberdeen Best Buy store, there were two noticeably empty rows of CDs Friday morning.
The end of each contained a white plastic board with the name "Michael Jackson" typed across the top.
"Almost all his CDs were gone by the time it was announced that he was dead," said sales associate Greg Garcia. "It was amazing."
Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m. Thursday Pacific time after being transported to the UCLA Medical Center in a coma. The cause of death is thought to be cardiac arrest, according to The Associated Press.
According to Garcia, once the news broke that Thursday evening about Jackson's death, customers began to flock to the store in hopes of snapping up copies of his music.
On Friday morning, Best Buy received a shipment of merchandise, including some Jackson CDs. Within 30 minutes, the "Michael Jackson" rack was again empty.
"Most customers are telling me that they can't find any of his music anywhere in this area, even as far as Raleigh," Garcia said. "One even told me she was going to call someone in New York to get a CD for her."
Local disk jockey Jenny Cruz of Star 102.5 gave listeners an opportunity to remember Jackson Friday by playing only his music for an hour during her midday show. The radio station also played a block of his songs in the morning and then later in the afternoon.
"We have gotten about 20 phone calls every hour requesting a copy of the 'monstermix' we made of his music or to request one of his songs to play," said Cruz.
Like many around the world, Baxter Clement, owner of the Sandhills School of Performing Arts and organizer of the Pinestock music festival, was deeply affected by Jackson's passing.
"I was completely devastated when I heard the news," he said. "He was one of my first influences as a musician. The first album I bought when I was a kid was a Jackson Five album."
Clement also says some of his students are also saddened, even though they did not grow up during the singer's heyday.
"Most of them don't know much about him other than how he was in the media, but ultimately they respect his music," Clement said. "He was able to cross stylistic bridges. Hopefully with his death, more will understand what a great musician he was."
Jonathan Summey can be reached at 693-2482.
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